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Special Teams The Route To Ravens' 53-Man Roster For Jaleel Scott

August 20, 2019
Jaleel Scott lunged across the middle, using all of his 6-foot-5 frame to make a diving catch on a pass from Trace McSorley against the Green Bay Packers Aug. 15. For a player fighting for a roster spot, it was exactly the kind of play that has to be made when your number is called.

But perhaps just as important, Scott also made a couple of plays on special teams in that game, recording one tackle as a punt gunner and one on a kickoff return. Those tackles, maybe more than his sliding catch, are why Scott could end up on the right side of the roster bubble as a No. 5 or No. 6 receiver.

And he knows it.

When asked last week what he needed to do to make the Ravens' 53-man roster, Scott said, "make sure I'm an 'X' factor on special teams."

One other thing helping Scott is health concerns surrounding other wide receivers. First-round pick Marquise Brown has yet to play in a preseason game and has been easing back from offseason surgery on a Lisfranc (foot) injury. Seth Roberts has been sidelined more than a week by an unspecified injury, and rookie Miles Boykin, who has impressed throughout training camp, has missed the past few workouts. 

After the first of two joint practices with the Philadelphia Eagles Aug. 19, head coach John Harbaugh said he had no updates on Boykin or other injured players. But surely any nagging injuries to receivers further open the door for Scott, who is simply looking for opportunity after a lost 2018 season. 

A fourth-round pick out of New Mexico State last year, Scott had a quiet training camp as a rookie. He had one catch for 9 yards in preseason play, then in the final roster cutdown, he landed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury that cost him his entire rookie season. 

Scott said called his IR year "a humbling experience, having football taken away from me. ... I can't be on out here on the practice field, but I did get to stay in the meetings and watch a lot of film and study a lot."

Pretty much from the outset this summer, a healthy Scott has been playing with a confidence rarely seen his rookie year. He has fought for contested catches and has used his size and considerable catch radius to his advantage. There is the familiarity that comes with no longer being a rookie, plus as Scott said, "My preparation ... my training, and the things that I knew I needed to work on, I attacked it this offseason."

New Ravens wide receivers coach David Culley said, "All Jaleel has done, all of training camp, is make plays. He did the same thing in the game, and he's improving tremendously. I like where Jaleel is right now. I think he has a bright future here."

Scott came into camp knowing a roster spot was far from secure. Receivers Willie Snead and Chris Moore were both returning with major roles, Roberts was signed as a free agent and the Ravens drafted a pair of receivers -- Brown and Boykin -- in the first three rounds of the draft. Add veteran Michael Floyd and a host of undrafted rookies -- Antoine Wesley has topped that group to date -- and Scott knows the competition is fierce for the final receiver roster spots. 

"I just want to stack my days," Scott said. "Each and every day, control what I can control and let God take care of the rest. That's how I look at it."

Follow Bo on Twitter @bsmolka

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox